The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced record investment to increase the number of youth workers in hospitals across the city and help steer young people away violence.
More than £4 million will fund additional teams of youth workers to be based for the first time in five Accident & Emergency hospitals in areas with high levels of young victims of violent crime – Newham General Hospital in Plaistow, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, Croydon University Hospital, University Hospital Lewisham and Whittington Hospital, covering Islington and Haringey. This builds on the positive impact of schemes like in A&E departments at North Middlesex University Hospital and St Thomas Hospital in Lambeth.
This investment will also provide an increase in the number of specialist youth workers already based in London’s four Major Trauma Centres – Kings, St Georges, St Marys and the Royal London Hospitals. The Mayor’s funding will continue to invest in youth workers in A&E departments at North Middlesex University Hospital in Enfield and St Thomas Hospital in Lambeth, as well as providing funding for the first time to youth workers who are currently working in Homerton A&E in Hackney. This funding from the Mayor will now mean that City Hall is funding more than half of all the youth worker posts in London hospitals.
Youth workers based in hospital departments has shown that young people who arrive at London’s Major Trauma Centres with serious injuries will have been to A&E previously with lower level injuries. Basing youth workers in A&E departments lets them intervene much earlier and engage with young people when they arrive at hospital with injuries – the time when they are most receptive to changing their behaviour.
Last year, more than 1,000 young people were identified as in need of specialist youth worker support in London’s Major Trauma Centres, due to potentially suffering violence or exploitation. Youth workers were able to help 432 young people last year, aiding them in moving away from violence in their lives and assisting with education, relationships and housing. Of these young people, 52 were under-18 and not previously known to support services, showing the success of this approach at reaching some of the most vulnerable and at-risk young Londoners.
This investment forms a crucial part of Sadiq’s public-health approach to tackling violent crime in the capital. He has launched England’s first violence reduction unit in London which is working in partnership with the NHS, local authorities, the police and specialist youth services to divert people away from violence by making interventions at an early age, addressing the causes of violence and providing young Londoners with positive life opportunities.
Visiting the A&E at North Middlesex University Hospital in Enfield on Monday 14th October, Sadiq joined the Director of London’s Violence Reduction Unit, Lib Peck, to meet the hospital’s A&E staff to hear about the successful interventions youth workers have been making.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said; “It is a tragedy that our city is being robbed of young people with so much potential and it is vital we do all we can to help them move away from a life of violence. Embedding youth workers in hospitals has already made a profound difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable young Londoners, reaching them at a crucial junction in their lives and helping them choose a different path away from violence. This is why I am investing record amounts to significantly expand this work and introduce specialist youth workers to more A&E departments.”
Cat Still, Oasis Youth Support Project Co-Ordinator, said; “Oasis Youth Support helps young people, and their families, transform their lives. The young people we are seeing have often been forgotten about or let down. We see young people who are too traumatised to leave the house after being attacked in their community. We take our service to them, on their terms and help them rebuild their lives in any way we can.”